The United States Border Patrol is a federal government agency that is operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The general goal of the Border Patrol is to prevent immigrants from illegally crossing into the United States, keep people and illegal things from being smuggled into the country, and also safeguard the stars and stripes against terrorists.
Border Patrol agents are trained to apprehend people crossing the Mexican-American border and determine whether they are illegally entering the United States or not. They also try to thwart drug-smuggling operations – these are generally most agents’ two major functions.
If the immigrants attempting to illegally cross into the United States try to seriously harm Border Patrol agents, the agents can shoot them or otherwise use lethal force against them.
In 2010, nearly a full decade in the past, a United States Border Patrol agent stationed on a Texan portion of the border who was, at the time, standing on U.S. soil, used his government-issued firearm to gun down and take the life of a 15-year-old teenager who was not attempting to kill or harm the agent.
The family of the 15-year old, who went by the name of Sergio Hernandez, believes that the Border Patrol agent violated the constitutional rights of their son.
Lower levels of courts of law have not been able to agree on whether Border Patrol agents like the one mentioned above should or could be held responsible for killing migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
That’s exactly why the United States Supreme Court decided to open up its doors to oversee, judge, and rule on the case. Earlier today, on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, the Supreme Court’s members agreed to entertain the case involving the 15-year-old’s death. Sergio Hernandez’s family hopes to be granted the legal ability to sue the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed Sergio.
Currently, per the U.S. Department of Justice’s Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Sergio’s family is not able to file a lawsuit anywhere in the United States.
Mr. Francisco told the Supreme Court’s nine members to entertain the long-running case and rule in favor of one of the opinions of a lower court – specifically one that stopped the suit in its tracks.
The ruling on this case will determine several others, including another similar shooting in 2012, though the agent was guarding Arizona’s border.